I will get right to the point. Manufacturer's warranties
are not worth much. Warranties should not be the primary decision-making factor when selecting a carpet. All of the warranties provided
by the carpet mills and fiber manufacturers (i.e., DuPont, Solutia) have
stipulations attached to them. For example, I know of a Wear Warranty
that states that 10% of the fiber must be lost in order for the mill to
replace the carpet. However, the mill will only replace the area
of the carpet that has been worn. This is ridiculous because the
dye lots are different from one production run to the next so the new piece
of carpet will almost always show. I do not know of any mill that
has replaced carpet under this warranty in the last 10 years. Stain
Warranties also come with conditions. They frequently will not cover
stains due to certain substances like dyes, medications, and pet vomit.
They also generally do not cover carpet that is in high traffic areas.
This is because some stain protection chemicals that are added to the fiber can wear off from wear or from cleaning. Also, mills will usually have a sliding scale for the replacement value, which will
decrease over time. The longer you have your carpet, the less money you
The long warranties that exist today did not exist in the 1980's. A recent article in a major flooring magazine pointed out that there have been some improvements in flooring products, but "the improvements made by manufacturers are not significant enough to justify doubling the length of warranty." The manufacturers are betting on a couple things. First, national statistics show that the average family will move long before their 20 year warranty is even close to expiring. And second, many customers will forget about the warranty or will not bother to complain if there is a problem.
This does not mean that warranties are completely useless.
They do serve as a guide for determining which carpets are better than
others. But they are only a guide. Also, you
should retain your receipts from professional cleanings in case you are required to prove
that you properly maintained your carpet.